Entries Tagged as 'commentary'

now 400 facebook business page likes

Peter K. O'Connell Facebook Business Page Likes 400Not for a moment do I claim to truly understand the analytics of any social media platform. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter et al with their likes and followers are about as deep as I get into it. Whether it’s a science or a sham, I don’t understand most of it, I don’t pretend to nor do I lose sleep over it.

Yet again this morning, however, I was putzing around my Facebook business page in another futile attempt to figure out if I was passing or failing my on-going social media exams. I do this occassionally as some sort of weird self-torture.

When what did my wonder eyes did I see but the number 400 next to ‘business page likes’ (or followers or zombies or something), none of that matters. What matters is that there were 400 of…something interested in what I was saying on my Facebook business page, Peter K. O’Connell – Male Voiceover Talent.

I assume (without any real research, of course) that there are voiceover talents who also have Facebook Business Pages who may have 10 times as many page likes as my 400 that they may have obtained organically or via purchase — and good on them.

Just from a personal stand point, 400 likes seems like A LOT. Call it egotistical or even naive, but it seemed like a nice number and I was weirdly pleased with it.

Alleged Facebook Logos Past and Future

I know enough about social media analytics to understand that likes and followers don’t tell much of the social media effectiveness story unless these followers are ” actively engaged” in the content they are following and that there is indeed quality content to actually follow.

But since starting my  Facebook Business Page back in 841 B.C., I’ve evidently said enough stuff that 400 people enjoyed it enough to like the page. That to me is stunning. It is also worthy of a very humble thank you if you liked my Facebook business page or followed my Twitter page.

Thanks.

‘Oh, and you’ll be our live announcer. Go!’

As you know, with me, there’s always a voiceover story.

Even at a Little League baseball game.

It was last weekend at one of my children’s games…but this was more than a regular game. This was part of a kind of baseball festival at this really nice baseball facility in Cary, NC.

I am not a coach of my son’s team but just one of many Dad helpers there to support the Manager (mostly during practices). This day, the Assistant Coach asked if I would take the team lineup to the facility’s pressroom because as a special part of this big baseball event, the players are introduced over the PA for each game. For the young players, this is a really special treat that does not happen at regular games.

As instructed, I went up to the press room which is on the second floor of this kind of hub structure at this multi-field park that looks a bit like an airport control tower – from the 2nd floor deck you can see all the surrounding fields. I walked in and handed a person our lineup sheet, told them which team it was for and the field we would be playing on so they could do the introductions.

“No, no,” the person said. “You have to come up just before the game starts so you can do the announcing. We have someone from each team do the intros,” the person said.

I took a second to make sure I understood what they just said, as it was a surprise to me.

“Someone from our team does the actual team intros on the PA?” I asked? He confirmed I had heard correctly.

I thought the town would just have an employee do it or hire a radio guy for the weekend. Nope. A parent.

As there were four parents including me helping out on my son’s team and three of them (not me) had jobs on the field during the game, I knew how this story was likely going to end.

I went down to my son’s coaches and I said, “I have good news and bad news. The bad news is they want someone from our team to do the team intros on the PA. The good news is I do live announcing for a living, so if you want, I can do the intros.”

They thought that was a swell idea.

So back up I went to the airport control tower/baseball complex HQ to await my instructions from the Town of Cary employees (all very nice folks).

Things happened pretty quickly once I got back inside.

desk microphoneThe audio setup was very, um, practical. The speakers outside were pretty good. The microphone, inside the fairly large, mostly glass walled room, was a very low end desk mic with a push-to-talk switch….kinda like I used to have on my CB radios in the 70’s.

But it all worked.

My son’s team was the home team, so the parent from the away team did the intro’s for the away team first. I was instructed that, because I went last, my job after I read the coach’s name on our roster, I was to say “Play Ball”.

It was very hard to hear anything going on outside which led me to believe this must have been much more than single-paned glass I was surrounded by. I knew I was going to be louder than the previous parent (or probably most parents announcing during the event). I knew I’d have to back off the mic a bit so I would not sound distorted.

Make it exciting, I thought. Make it memorable, I told myself. Make it sportstacular!

On second thought, I may have been just solely focused on name pronunciations.

In any case, at the last minute I had the good sense to grab my phone to record it. The camera work wasn’t pretty (nor was/is the subject) but the announce went just fine and the kids (and coaches) were thrilled.

creative local tv car commercials

Automotive TV Commercials AudioconnelldotcomI’ve have produced voiceovers for a fair number of TV car commercials over my many years. Some of the spots in both script and pictures were frighteningly bad.

And sometimes maybe the voiceover wasn’t perfect either 😉

But some of these TV spots for auto dealers were good, really good.

Local TV spots for car dealers can be challenging because often times the dealer / owner wants to be in the commercial and…and, well, let’s just say they shouldn’t be.

On the other hand, some folks are great on TV and it helps them sell lots of cars. I went to high school with a friend of mine whose family owns a number of dealerships in Western New York. He runs the dealership now, he’s the TV spokesperson and the camera loves this guy!

He’s never asked me to voice his spots. That sonofa… 😉

So producing car spots can be tricky and there really is an art to a spot that isn’t just screaming price and promo (but make no mistake – those screaming spots sell lots of cars!)

A spot I recently voiced for a dealership in the Albany, NY area did a really creative thing with their dealership’s TV commercial.

They used mostly graphics and some video to underscore the selling point of the script. The most unique thing is…almost no cars in the entire spot, yet it is very clearly a car commercial!

I’m not saying this because I voiced the spot, truly I am not.

This spot hits all the right points of difference and branding elements to create an effective car commercial.

Watch this.

welcoming the new kid to the neighborhood

Voice Talent Peter K. O'Connell recording voiceover scripts at Soundtrax Recording Studios in Raleigh, NCGetting acclimated to any new city is not always easy.

Moving to Raleigh in August of 2016 was certainly an adventure.

But while we miss our friends and family in Buffalo, NY, we have family and new friends here in Raleigh and Cary. People here are generally very nice.

And while my voiceover business has continued to expand, I haven’t had all that much voiceover business in the Raleigh Durham area since moving here.

I think that is to be expected as local producers and recording studios aren’t nearly as excited that a new voice talent has moved into the area as the voice talent is to now be the new kid on the block.

But remember how I said people here are generally very nice? Well I have found that to be exceptionally true in the voiceover community. When I floated the idea of a new RDU voiceover meet-up group, I wasn’t sure how that would go over.

But local folks I’ve known for years like Rowell Gormon, Debbie Stamp and Wendy Zier introduced me to other Raleigh voice talents like Mike Urben, Bill Jordan, and Kevin Silva among many others. The meet-up has gone well (but I have to schedule the next one, thanks for the reminder).

These fellow voiceover talents also introduced me to some great recording studio producers including Tom Guild and Becket McGough (who are also great voice talents) over at Soundtrax Recording Studios in Raleigh. The studio is generous enough to play host to our voiceover meet-ups.

Becket especially has been working to get me into record.

This week I was hired for my first major local project. At Soundtrax!

The work, while terrific, isn’t nearly as impressive to me as the kindness Tom and Becket have offered this “new” voiceover kid.

Thank you very much.

west virginia i was in you again

Charlie Cooper, Peter K. O'Connell & Amie Breedlove in Charleston, WV

Voice Talent and Admix Broadcast Service Owner Charlie Cooper with Voiceover Talents Peter K. O’Connell & Amie Breedlove in Charleston, WV

Traveling is not as exciting as people who don’t travel think it is.

But if you are a traveler and you’re on planes as much as I am…you learn the tricks that save you time and aggravation.

One of my tricks is to try and get together with people I know in the city I am traveling to…for a couple of reasons.

It gives you something to look forward to when you visit a city where you otherwise would not know a soul.

From a voiceover perspective, it also gives you insights and introductions to recording studios that are good to record at (as opposed to studios that are….not so much).

I’ve been heading over to Charleston, WV and the surrounding areas for years now and fortunately sometime ago I connected with voice talent Amie Breedlove. She introduced me to Admix Broadcast Recording Studio owner and voice talent Charlie Cooper. We all became fast friends.

So it was again this week that we all got together to solve the world’s voiceover problems. We handled some world problems too but those, as you can imagine, were pretty simple to solve compared to the complexities of script interpretation and microphone positioning.

If you get a chance to work with either of these two fine, talented folks (where ever you are in the world) I hope you will do so…very worthwhile and very fun. Plus Amie’s got a new Jaguar (see the picture)!!!!!

free answers on “how-to” voiceover

No Voiceover Demo MillsSo I was on Facebook today and I saw that voiceover coaching/demo mill Voice Coaches is coming to Raleigh to present their seminar “Get Paid To Talk”.

The first thing I thought to myself was: ‘Oh great, try and make money off the voiceover industry by insulting said industry with one of the great slurs against it!” (That slur being: ‘how hard can voiceover be, it’s just talking!’).

However, the ad that I was presented with was kind enough to include the topics this $40+ seminar will cover over at some area hotel.

I don’t begrudge people teaching others about VO. There are maybe 10 really talented voiceover coaches out there who I have studied with or about whom I have heard raves that I would easily recommend to folks at any level. These folks will teach you AND inspire you.

My personal bias is that, except in very certain circumstances, I generally don’t like the idea of coaches also producing demos. Voiceover coaches should coach and demo producers should produce. The grey area is when coaches direct the recording talent, sometimes that works. Sometimes.

And coaching companies – companies that have a bigger staff, don’t make their money on coaching – they make their big money on producing demos…many times whether or not the person is actually ready to make a voiceover demo (sometimes they really are not ready).

It should be noted that Voice Coaches isn’t the only company that does this…they are just the only ones who (by now, regrettably, in their minds) advertised on my social media feed this morning.

I will save you the forty bucks and possible half-truths about your VO future as well as the 4-5 mortgage payments this company might like you to replace with their demo production fee and answer all those burning VO questions this seminar will cover right here in this blog.

So ignore the hype of “this workshop tends to sell out” or getting a “behind-the-scenes look at how people make money every day with their voices” or receiving the “opportunity to record a short script under the direction of your instructor” let’s go right to the MEAT of the hotel presentation (which will take place in the meeting room right next to the Starving Artists Painting Show – another “don’t miss event”).

“What a voice-over is…”

Voiceover is an acting or performance career specifically involving the human voice.

A voiceover talent is a person who spends about 80-90% running a business and the balance recording auditions and VO jobs…unless you’re doing audiobooks which keep you recording a lot but not often getting paid as much as other VO work.

People who record audiobooks love it. Personally, I like money better. But there is a true art to recording audiobooks and if you can read to me like Edward Herrmann, I will listen to everything you record.

I digress.

Voiceover involves running a small business more than it’s recording with your voice. It’s sales, marketing, accounting, training and taxes. If running a small business is something you would loathe or makes you break out in hives, do not start a voiceover business.

You know what it is not? Voiceover is not getting paid to talk. Pithy title, bullshit message. If a company has that much disrespect for the industry it’s introducing you too, that to me is a RED flag.

“What it is like on the job…”

This is where a seminar like this I believe would sell the sizzle. I’ve not been to the seminar so I don’t know for sure.  I’m thinking this is where one talks about walking into a recording studio, seeing the big mixing board, meeting the engineer, talking with producers or directors and then heading into the booth. What the voiceover booth sounds like, what it smells like, what kind of microphones they use, headphones too. Squuuueeeeeal!!!! Thrilling!

“Which voice types are most in demand…”

They say in their promotion “sincerity wins the job”.

Um, no.

I hear many sincere voice talents every single day who don’t get the job. Good, hard working voice talents who go days without recording.

Everything that makes any small business successful: business plans, marketing plans, networking, hard work – all that and more gets you the opportunity in most cases to compete for the job, get an audition and maybe win it. Harder work will allow you to establish multiple client relationships directly that you nurture and foster and result in repeat clients or even retainer clients.

You better be able to produce more than one voice “type”, by the way. The more versatile you are, the better.

“What a professional voice demo sounds like… “

“You get one chance to make a first impression”, their ad says.

Their ad doesn’t say “so pay us scads of money and we will make your demo sound passable but you personally may or may not have the real voice over talent to perform in a studio the way we made you sound for 7 seconds on the demo we produced for you.”

Here’s a nasty, sad voiceover truth: even the most untalented voiceover talent can be made to sound ok, even good for sixty seconds among 7-8 different cuts on a commercial voiceover demo. BUT (and this is a big, enormous but) once that talent gets on mic in a new studio for a job, they likely won’t remember how to recreate and hold that sound they had on the demo nor will they be able to show any versatility in their voice because they haven’t developed any.

How’s THAT for a first impression?

The problem demo mills often set these unsuspecting voiceover newbies up for is either they haven’t given them an honest voiceover assessment (like maybe some shouldn’t pursue their VO dream) or that the newbies haven’t received the best possible training.

Sometimes it’s both.

There is a difference between training someone new to record a voiceover demo and training someone new to be a professional voiceover talent.

Training to a demo is quick…you only need 7 seconds of good audio per track. Training to be a voiceover talent can easily take months…assuming the coach is honest enough early on to tell a person who sucks at VO that they suck at VO and not to follow that career path and keep their money.

“Where to look for work opportunities…”

It’s only a guess, but I’m picturing a power point slide (just one) that lists places that might use voiceover. Wowee! A real voiceover MBA there.

Suffice it to say there is a lot of work that goes into prospecting, marketing and developing business relationships. I hope some hard truths are shared here but I am skeptical.

“How to avoid common mistakes…”

 One might be to not spend $40 for an introduction to voiceover class.